The Thursday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories - 1310 NEWS
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The Thursday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm EDT

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. (AP Photo/Oriol Duran)

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Aug. 17

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BARCELONA ATTACK KILLS 12, INJURES 80: A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, plowing into tourists and residents. Authorities said 12 people were killed and 80 were wounded, 15 of them seriously, in what they called a terror attack. The afternoon attack in the northeastern Spanish city was the country’s deadliest since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in co-ordinated attacks on Madrid’s commuter trains. It left victims sprawled out in the street, spattered with blood or crippled by broken limbs.

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CANADIANS ADVISED TO AVOID BARCELONA TOURIST AREA: Canadians in Spain are being urged to avoid the Las Ramblas area in Barcelona, where a van has plowed through a crowd in the popular tourist area near the city centre. Global Affairs Canada is also urging Canadians in Spain to let their “loved ones know you are safe.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack that left 12 dead. Global Affairs says Canadians in the Spanish city should monitor local media and follow the directions of local authorities.

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NUMBER OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN QUEBEC QUADRUPLED IN JULY: The number of asylum seekers intercepted at the Quebec-New York border in July nearly quadrupled to 2,996 and shows no sign of slowing down, authorities said Thursday. In June, the comparable number was 781, according to Immigration and Citizenship Canada. Meanwhile, the RCMP’s Claude Castonguay said the force intercepted more than 3,800 irregular entries between Aug. 1 and 15, primarily at Roxham Road in Hemmingford, Que. Castonguay said an average of between 200 and 250 people have been crossing each day, compared with about 500 at one point.

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STUDENT DEATH PROMPTS OUTDOOR EDUCATION POLICE REVIEW: Ontario is launching a review of outdoor education policies for every school board in the province after the death of a Toronto teen on a school-run canoe trip this summer. Education Minister Mitzie Hunter also says the province will immediately increase funding to life-saving swimming programs and increase awareness about the programs for incoming Canadian residents. The Toronto District School Board said Wednesday that 15 students on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park did not pass a required swimming test, including 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry, who died after disappearing in a lake during the trip.

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SCHEER WON’T DO INTERVIEWS WITH REBEL: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he’ll do no further interviews with online news outlet the Rebel until it changes its editorial direction. Scheer is linking his decision to the Rebel’s coverage of last weekend’s deadly Charlottesville protests. The Rebel’s approach was seen by some as sympathetic to the white nationalists who organized the rally, which collapsed into violent clashes that killed one counter-protester and injured nearly 20 others.

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SHIP SERVICE CONTRACT GOES TO FRENCH FIRM: The Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada’s new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels. The federal government said Thursday Thales Canada, in a joint venture with the company’s Australian arm, will provide in-service support for the vessels under a contract that could total $5.2 billion over 35 years. Acting Procurement Minister Jim Carr announced the awarding of the contract along with parliamentary secretary Steven MacKinnon at news conferences in Halifax and Ottawa.

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STATCAN REVISES CENSUS LANGUAGE DATA: Quebec’s anglophone population is declining, rather than booming, Statistics Canada said Thursday as the agency officially corrected a census finding that had stoked political fires in the province’s emotionally charged language debate. The change follows a computer error that recorded some 55,000 people in last year’s census as English speakers, even though French is their mother tongue. Correcting the mistake cut the reported increase in the anglophone population in half, and pushed the francophone population up by more than 145,000 between 2011 and 2016.

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PIKANGIKUM TO GO ON THE GRID: The federal government announced up to $60 million in funding Thursday to connect a remote northwestern Ontario First Nation to the province’s power grid. Pikangikum First Nation, a community near the Ontario-Manitoba border, currently relies on diesel generators for electricity. The reserve of some 2,300 people about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont., has a stake in Wataynikaneyap Power, a transmission company owned by 22 First Nation communities who partnered with utility company Fortis with the goal of connecting 17 of its signatories to the provincial grid.

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OTTAWA LOOKING AT SENTENCING REFORM: The Justice Department wants to know what Canadians think of changing some of the former Conservative government’s controversial tough-on-crime sentencing legacy, including mandatory minimum penalties. An online survey asks respondents to judge several unique scenarios, such as a brain-damaged offender whose condition leads to poor decision-making skills, or a single mother whose children were placed in foster care after her arrest. Once respondents choose a course of action, the survey notes that currently, a judge would have no choice but to imprison the convicted offender for a minimum period of time.

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MEN WITH LINKS TO ONTARIO BIKERS ARRESTED IN P.E.I.: Nine men affiliated with a Toronto-area Hells Angels chapter have been arrested by a new police task force targeting P.E.I.’s growing outlaw motorcycle gang presence. Police say the nine — reportedly aged 19 to 63 — are “hangarounds” with the Hells Angels in Woodbridge, Ont. They face charges relating to involvement in a criminal organization as well as lottery and gaming counts. They were arrested early Thursday by the P.E.I. Organized Crime Task Force — a joint group including municipal forces and the RCMP.

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